“The idea to build a science park in Belgrade developed in the Eighties,” explains the Park’s director Gordana Danilović Grković. “The construction did start in 1989, but with the breakup of Yugoslavia, it was never finished.” Then in 2010, it got a new lease on life.
The European Investment Bank and the Serbian government signed a EUR 200 million loan in 2010 aimed at revitalising the country’s public research and development activity. EU grants totalling EUR 3.5 million greatly facilitated the realisation of this project. The loan is also in line with the Bank’s Economic Resilience Initiative which works on stimulating growth and job creation in the Western Balkans, among other things. One of the sub-projects included was the creation of Science and Technology Park in Belgrade – worth more than EUR 14 million. Three more parks are planned – in Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac.
Creating a culture of innovation
Established by the Serbian government, the City of Belgrade and the University of Belgrade, the park’s aim is to create a favourable environment for knowledge transfer, networking and new technology development.
“The park serves as a safe haven for numerous start-ups in Belgrade,” says Darko Djukić, the government official who was in charge of the implementation of the project. ”It has also created a positive atmosphere that promotes innovation and exchange of ideas”.
Plugging Serbia’s brain drain
Strawberry Energy isn’t the only company that does its business in the Belgrade science park. Sixty companies (of which 37 are start-ups) work in the park 4.5 km from the city centre. They include:
- Honorarci.rs, Serbia’s first internet database of part-time workers
- Mainflux is a technology company offering a full-stack open-source, patent-free IoT (internet of things) platform